• The forgotten story of Colleen Calomire

    The echoes were all you could hear at night time, they almost taught you. The shadows of passing guards and the screams of new comers was not a rare occurrence down here. Every set of silver bars grounded into the soft tunnel ground seemed to jitter with vibrations as the inhibitions of the city above continued their noble lives. The last cell looked empty to the patrols that roamed the halls and it was not rare that one would enter and poke Colleen in the chest just to make sure he was there, he knew he had to eat more. The slim figure was only a shadow of the boy he once was, such a heavy build had withered into nothing more than a skeleton, a skeleton of his passed self or passed life for that matter.

    Colleen’s eyes flickered as another scream echoed in the tunnels honey combs, it was not rare that sound could be carried for some time before it weakened. The blood gargled scream was short lived as he heard the guard shiftily hit the new comer; it was the sign of welcome, the sign of your future life, in the golden mine slave chambers that was.
    Taken at only a young age Colleen was once of the first to be placed in the slave trade for the dwarfen golden mines, it was his own mother and father that handed him over to the man he could only call Penny. Penny was the taskmaster of the trade and often did Colleen awake to random beatings and yelling from the man, his tempter had grown so much over the years. But one thing never changed, Colleen was the best miner they had which proved to keep him alive.

    The tasks he performed were simple, so was his reward, smash rocks until his body gave in to mind blowing exhaustion. But before his daily torture could end he had to eat, which was a torture in itself. Colleen could only remember one meal he had been given outside of the never ending tunnels of agony and disappear and that was his final meal. He remembered it so vividly, pork chops and vegetables. His mind had stressed the memory so hard he pondered on whether it had become fiction, a figment of his twisted reality that kept him going.

    But life was not all bad as he found the days becoming shorter and the mines becoming thinner, but that was the very reason for Colleen’s sleepless night. The slaves lived for one purpose and one purpose alone, that was to mine the gold and deliver it to the noble kingdoms. But he knew better than anyone that the trade was running dry and the mines were only weeks from closing down.

    The first to go was Benny; the weak boy had only been working for a month when he was made into the night’s meal. The next was Ron which put up a fight to the very end; he had been there almost as long as Colleen. But the one that turned on the alarm bells in Colleens mind was his only friend, Alex. Colleen and Alex had met on the first day when they were the only two slaves in the business. They exchanged turns to be whipped and often traded the blunt pick to provoke it; they were the only family each other had.
    The night droned on and Colleen proved to have little fight left in him. His eyes watered from the mental power that was required to stay awake and his body soon gave in, he plunged into a deep sleep. Colleen awoke only moments later to find his body being moved violently. He opened his eyes slowly and looked up to see who had moved him, to no surprise it was Penny. The large man had lost his hair only a few years ago and it seemed to make him colder. He was quite over weight and had an oddly shaped beard that lightly ascended down to his chest, where it lay on his belly, caused by the meals Colleen only dreamed of.

    Colleen groaned and waved a hand at the man to signal that he was awake, with was returned with a quick slap to the face, Penny’s high pitched voice soon followed “Don’t you wave your hand at me boy, ‘tis a honour your even alive!” Colleen slowly recovered from the blow and sat up right to meet Penny head on, their eyes met for only a second before Penny grabbed him by his soft blonde hair.

    He was guided out into the single file line where the rest of the miners already stood awaiting his arrival. Many looked tired and Colleen knew they were thinking just as hard about the missing miners as he was, but they all knew little could be done, all accept Colleen of course. Colleen waited for the signal to move and when it came he was burst into action with the rest of the boys following suit.

    There was a unique system that followed, first they would be given a small shred of soap, then they would pass the large underground waterfall that resided just outside the cave where the cells where placed. They each passed under the waterfall and were given only seconds to scrub there body and wash their armpits, taking any longer would result in a lashing but Colleen knew that it would likely mean death at the current time of desperation. Colleen however had mastered the art of washing himself and exited the waterfall within seconds.

    Next were the tools for the day, which consisted of the dirtiest ones they could find. The bucket or the pick were the tools of choice and each had a unique job to them. The boys given the pick would smash away at the cave walls until there body could take no more. The boys with the bucket would gather the dirt and bring it to the shiver which sorted the gold from the dirt. The worst job was indeed the pick but Colleen over time had proved to be a valuable asset to the pick group and rarely received the bucket.

    But today was different and Colleen made sure he took a step back and swapped positions with the boy behind him so he could receive the bucket, he dodged a swift glace from the boy in the process which he only knew as Garrow. With a feeling of much success Colleen received the bucket and continued down the line to the mines. The journey was short and he soon found himself trusted into action from Penny who had begun shouting orders at random.

    Colleen placed himself behind Garrow and began to fetch the dirt as it fell. There were three types of rocks that came from the wall, your basic class dirt, dead rocks and gold rocks; each had to be handled in a unique type of way. Dirt and gold rocks were simply put in the shiver and sorted through, but dead rocks were a ticking time bomb. The dark rocks held a unique feature which was there black texture, almost like coal. If they were placed in the shiver it would jam, resulting in hours of repairs to remove the rock. If a slave was stupid enough to put a dead rock into the shiver a cold bullet would be found in their brain as there was always an armed dwarf standing on site.

    But Colleen had a fine eye for dead rocks and quickly separated them from the dirt when he carried a bucket over to the shiver, but today was indeed different. Instead of placing the dead rocks in the pile with the rest he took time to study them and look for the strongest two he could find, which luckily was not a hard task. He placed two large dead rocks in his torn pants and then continued the day’s work as normal.

    It took hours before the work stopped and when the voice of Penny filled the dark forbidden halls Colleen sighed with relief. He followed the group once more to the dinner room, but made an odd detour on the way. The guards lined the boys up against the wall and made them face the single dwarf who held the long golden blunderbuss in hand. Colleen assumed a check, which almost made his heart jump out of his chest, but it proved to be even worse than that.

    Penny’s voice was loud and proud and got straight to the point “Due to the mines becoming dry we need less of you to finish the work, so we will be letting off half of you per day, starting right now.” The words loomed in Colleens ears for almost an entire minute before it fully hit him “There going to kill half of us!” His mind shrieked out at him and he tried to control the urge to run at that very second.

    The dwarf slowly walked up beside every second boy and fired the weapon, the whimpers began as the boys who where second from the front realised there time was now. Most of the boys turned away and closed their eyes, unable to handle the sight. But Colleen stood tall and watched as the gun slowly dismantled his fellow workers on the cold wall behind them.

    Colleen however was safe and the dwarf passed him and shot Garrow, the boy he had switched places with today. Colleen took a deep breath and tried to be as still as possible, but a tear still fell from his eye. “That could have been me” he said to himself in a low whisper and Penny proved once more to have supersonic hearing as he swiftly turned to Colleen, a grin stricken on his face. He lent in close and looked Colleen right in the eye, his perfume so strong Colleen almost choked. “It will be before long Mr Calomire, it will” Penny’s words rung in his mind “Calomire” it was Colleens last name and Penny only used it on rare occasions, he knew because of this he was serious.

    Colleen only nodded as Penny moved away, the grin only faded after the group moved once more. They entered the dinner hall after a short walk back to the mines and passed the slavers bedroom where the large group of beds were well made and tidy. Colleen stopped and the group behind him smacked into the back of each other, clearly startled. Penny who was at the front of the group spun around with such force he almost hit the dwarf beside it; it was only because of his human height that he missed him.

    “Why do you stop boy! Do you wish to taste lead?” he said as he advanced on Colleen. But only silence came as Colleen raised a finger and pointed at the closest bed and spoke with a tone that could only be described as a ghost whisper “Your bed is mighty clean, Mr Penny sir” he said. Penny let out a small chuckle and looked in the room “My bed? Insane boy that’s my bed” he said and pointed at the large red bed at the back, its sheets twice the size of the others and a bed side table sat on the right side with a book titled ‘Cold Blood’ which only proved to amuse Colleen.

    Penny turned and grabbed Colleens ear “Its kitchen work for you boy, that stupid question cost us eating time and you will make up for it!” but Colleen only nodded. Colleen entered the kitchen which was another cave like structure with a hole in the side. All he had to do was hand out the knives and forks to the slaves, then a bowl, which they would fill at the end of the line themselves. But Colleen had an alternate motive to the information he gained and the task he had been given.

    When the slaves ate the slavers would disband and move up to there own quarters where they would eat, play cards, drink ale and flirt with the maidens that served them. The golden mines were directly under the town of Gallon an elves ghost city that had been overrun by the dwarfs. But there were only two people who would stay in the mines and that were the single dwarfen guard and Penny, who would go into the bedrooms and most likely read his book.

    After the boys had taken there food Colleen sprung into action, placing the two large rocks on the floor of the cave kitchen. He grabbed a knife and began his task of creating a hole in both of the rocks. He twisted the blade for almost ten minutes before the first rock acquired a new hole in the top. He repeated the process with the second and was careful to keep an eye on the cave door which had no lock on it.

    After the task was completed Colleen placed his palms on the side of his shirt and ripped it off with ease, it was mostly held together from dirt but the fabric still had come strength to it. He twisted it until it was thick and tight. He held the edges and with much effort tied the rocks onto the end, holding the twisted fabric in place.

    Colleen had created his weapon for escape. The fabric and the two rocks had turned out as planned and it copied the weapon he had seen in action from the first dwarfen slave master that run the mines. His name was Molok and he used the odd like weapon to choke the slaves into submission. It was a cruel and powerful weapon and could crush the slave’s neck if it was thrown hard enough, of course his was made out of steel and Colleens was made out of fabric and rocks, but he hoped for the same result.

    Colleen held the weapon by one rock and lent over to pear out of the hole, he could see the dwarfen guard on the other side of the dinner hall and let out a small smile. He placed one finger on the back of the large metal container that held the night’s meal and pushed it lightly so it fell to the ground. The sound startled the slaves as the metal hit the ground with such force that it echoed throughout the dinner hall, but was contained to that room alone as to not alert Penny. The dwarfen guard’s face lit up in anger and he rushed for the kitchen.

    Colleen began to spin, he remembered Molok saying that “It's all in the spin” he said from his memory to himself and had the weapon at a deadly speed when the dwarf entered. Colleen took no time to release the weapon towards the dwarf’s neck, a perfect shot as it wrapped round his neck and went limp, the two rocks hanging on each breast of the large dwarfen male, but Colleen was not going to give up. Just as the dwarf began to pull out his sword Colleen dashed towards him and grabbed the rocks, placing one foot on the dwarf’s chest. He knew that the dwarf was far stronger than himself but he had the height advantage as Colleen stood at a tall six foot three. He forced his entire body weight down on the dwarf and he fell backwards, which in turn tightened the hold of the fabric around his neck.

    For a short period of time Colleen feared it would break under the force but it was then he heard the sound he was waiting for, a snap. The sound was like a song of relief and Colleen dropped the limp dwarfen body to the ground. He lent down and tried to hold back his tears and he took the blunderbuss from the leather strap on his back, a clear sign of retribution over took Colleen and he almost made the killing right in his own mind.
    He exited the kitchen slowly, blunderbuss in hand, the slaves were so shocked that some even fell off there weak wooden chairs at the sight, but none dare to speak. Colleen opened the wooden door that lead to the hallway and edged his body in slowly; trying to prevent any unneeded sound. He slowly crept up beside the door where the bedrooms lay and closed his eyes.

    First he envisioned the dwarf and how he reloaded the weapon, the process seemed complex but he only needed one shot. The small golden leaver at the back of the weapon seemed to be the key and Colleen opened his eyes to check it, seeing it was cocked he smiled and closed his eyes once more. Next his remembered where the bed lay and knew that after he went inside he would have to run up to Penny to shoot him. Colleen took a deep breath and entered with haste, the door almost broke off its hinges in the process.
    Penny looked up with shock as Colleen raced up to him; he was unable to react in time for the climax of the attack. The sound was ear blowing as the gun exploded in Penny’s face, but it was not the sound that got to Colleen. Penny’s face had completely been dismantled in the process of the attack and showed no sign of its previous owner, it was merely flesh now.

    A guard had been returning early from the bar as he felt two knock backs from the ladies inside was too much for him. He entered the hallway after passing the dinner hall, where the slaves seemed oddly unsettled, and entered the slavers bedrooms “Sorry Penny seems will be...” his words were cut off as the sight almost hit him with physical pain. Colleen turned to shoot but the gun was not cocked and the only sound was the trigger hitting the back of the guard. The guard reacted on instinct and grabbed Colleen by the neck, pushing him up against the wooden beam in the middle of the room.

    Colleen dropped the gun and tried to break free of the grip, but the guard was too strong and before long his vision began to blur. He felt his body relax and his senses go fuzzy, the last thing he could remember was the guards face, so emotionless. The guard released him and Colleens limp body fell onto his shoulder.

    Colleen began to cough and recoil into a ball as he attempted to gain his breath. The guard slowly moved over to the blunderbuss and held it to his shoulder, the weapon was heavy for a human and he was surprised Colleen could lift it. He slowly pointed the barrel down at Colleen and a smirk slowly appeared on his face.

    Colleens scarlet eyes slowly drifted up to the guard and he refused to show fear, his time had come. His mouth stuttered the first time but he gained strength soon after. “You can kill me, you can kill us all. But that will never shed the blood on your hands or the screams in your ears” his voice was strong and the guard recoiled in shock, which soon turned to anger. He held down on the trigger and released the lead bullet into Colleen’s cocked neck. The room was silent as the blood from the bodies slowly seeped down into the centre of the room, the guard only sighed.